Friday, June 29, 2007

Score four for liberty

This past Tuesday was the ACLU’s day of action. The events this week make one wonder; Are we winning? Let’s see what has recently happened.

A US Supreme court admitted Guantanamo cases. It’s safe to say that this wasn’t only caused by the day of action, it has been the result of constant pressure applied to our “law makers” and advocacy. Ultimately, the judges finally came around. This result is in favor of a civil society. Without habeas corpus courts are nothing more than a barbaric circus.

The New Hampshire Governor signed a law banning real ID. New Hampshire is the seventh state to reject the measure, joining South Carolina, Georgia, Montana, Washington, Oklahoma, and Maine.

Congress subpoenaed the white house this week, requesting documents about our "decider’s" illegal wire-tapping. George Bush said that he would not comply.

Rhode Island legislator sent a very strong signal in favor of medical marijuana legalization. Get this the senate voted 29-4, and the house 58-11. Gov. Donald Carcieri has earned the title of terrorist of the week as the Governor's veto would have terrorized sick people.

There’s still a lot more work to be done, but if you want more freedom maybe, just maybe, there is hope.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Currency: Response to a comment

This week we will respond to a comment from one of our readers. This is a continuation of the topic: A call for a new currency. Lee's comment was:

It sounds interesting, but have you ever lent money to a friend?
Trust doesn't work very well as a basis for financial transactions.

These are very good points, and other people may share your concerns about the monetary payment system ripple. Well there are three ways that ripple helps mitigate unpaid debts. The first is that debts with companies should be sound. If a steak house is doing business with this alternate currency then it must honor its debts or the access to this currency will be cut off. It would be easier to not be a part of the system than try to cheat it. Also there would be sore customers if the steak house tried to cheat them, and that's bad for business. It's the same principal that ensures that the steak house will not overcharge your credit card. This ensures that the steak house is honest most of the time.

The second check has to do with person to person accounts. If one of your friends is going to cheat you, the only way they can do this is to stop using the account. As long as your friend keeps receiving payments his credit to you may be used to complete a transaction. This means that if your friend is always in debt to you then you can go in and revoke the credit that you extended to him. Later you may make a payment that will use his credit, and this credit that was owed to you is repaid.

The third reason is very simple. If you are worried about someone paying you back then you don't have to extend them any credit. Being selective will help prevent you from having credit that you can’t use. Someday, I imagine that a credit rating will be incorporated into the program. This could simply be a smite button, when a person has been smitten five times in a year then the account could be flagged, and people would know that the account is in bad standing. People whose account is in bad standing will have difficulty receiving credit, and so people will try not to be smitten.

Lee, thanks again for raising this issue.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Great show for your mind!

Here's a great show about current events. It's called Free Minds TV. I'm so pleased with these young people, they keep up with issues very well.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A call for a new currency

There are many reasons why our current monetary system is less than ideal. Click here for two of those reasons. We'll discuss one reform that is currently being developed.

Well, a little economic history might be in order. Once, the United States dollar used to be redeemable for gold. This made sure that a paper note actually had value. Today all national currencies are fiat currencies. Fiat means force; that is, currency has value because it is declared to have value. In the U.S., businesses are required to accept U.S. Federal Reserve Notes "for all debts public and private."

Another way of using currency is being developed by Ryan Fugger and others. Ryan is writing an open source program, ripple, which can be used to keep track of debts between individuals.

Here's how it works. Say you trust Bob, and you extend some credit to Bob. Bob trusts Julie and he extends credit to her. Ripple would then allow you to make a payment to Julie. A payment to Julie would simply be a debt from you to Bob and from Bob to Julie. Julie then could use this credit to make a payment to anyone in your trust network.

In practice there would be some accounts that would extend credit to many people. Say a coffee shop accepts money and extends credit to you, and this coffee shop would accept this credit for coffee. Then this credit would always have value backed by the drinks in the coffee shop. The coffee shop could then extend credit to a restaurant down the street. Then the credit could be accepted at the restaurant and the coffee shop.

If a monetary shift was made in this direction then some of the unattractive qualities of a fiat currency could be mitigated. Also this would minimize credit card fees that contribute to higher prices for all of us.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Why the currency you use does not serve your interests

If you, like most people, use a national currency then you are being swindled. There are two reasons:

1) Ability of a central power to print more of the currency you use.

2) The way the banking industry works.

The first reason harms you by eating away from the purchasing power of your currency. Say there are three people that want to buy a house. The first is willing to pay $145K, the second $150K, and the third $155K. If the first person is given $20K that is fresh off the press then he can raise his bid over $155K to buy the house. The person who was given the newly printed money is able to price the other two people out of the market. The new money raises price of the house at the determent of the other two bidders.

The second reason is that the banks have an undeserved power. Banks make money off of the money they have on deposit. A bank doesn't loan its own money. It loans the money of its depositors. The need for this banking system is supported by the current monetary system. Another monetary system may rely less on banks and therefore interest would be lower.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A man with a gun

Dave and Jim were best friends. They went out on their first double date together, and shared make-out stories after. After high-school graduation Jim was looking for a new experience. He asked Dave what he thought about the military.

"It’s a bad idea Jim."
"Well for starters you could die. Second, why would you want to be reduced to taking orders?"
"I have to take orders at my job; I take about 100 orders a day."
"That's different Jim. At your job if you quit, then there are no bad consequences. There's no quitting with the military. If you try to quit then you will be tried for desertion."
"But I won't want to quit."
"You don't like your current job and you want to quit; I can assure you that being a man with a gun will be much worse"
"I'll be a soldier!"
"That's what I said a man with a gun. A duck is a duck is a duck, and a soldier is a man with a gun."

Jim left with some anger in his heart. He felt that Dave was trivializing what a solder was. The next day he went down to sign up. He was told, all kind of great reasons he would like this new job. He was irked that Dave was just too dense to understand.

Dave was not angry at Jim, just melancholy. His best friend was going to an war with no end in sight. He would kill people who are innocent, or perhaps would have been innocent if Jim and others weren't there. Dave did not join Jim. He knew the only way to stop the cycle of violence was to be non-violent, too bad that he can't bring everyone of this view.

Please show any friend that is thinking about the millitary this video!